Not sure how best to word this without causing hysteria, or conversely underplaying the situation. Mom's not doing good.
She has been gone from our house for five weeks now, first to UCLA hospital, than to a rehab center, now to something that looks like a convalescent home you go to die in.
We had hoped that she would gain some movement in her paralyzed legs, get her wildly fluctuating sugars under control. (In June she suddenly developed diabetes caused by the steroids they're giving her to reduce the brain swelling caused two years after the radiation treatment that killed her brain tumor...still with me?)
In the last two weeks it looked increasingly unlikely that she would ever be strong enough to live with us again, but we were hoping to get her mobile enough in her wheelchair to eventually move into an assisted living facility with Hero.
Instead, her symptoms and body functions have unilaterally decreased. Brenda (Nurse Sis) has spent the last five weeks doing eight to twelve hour shifts in Mom's room because the doctors and nurses have not been taking care of her. I know for a fact Brenda has caught at least four mistakes that would have killed Mom. Then last night at three am, Mom called the house completely out of it and with terrible pain in her right leg. In the middle of the phone call, the phone cut out, and we couldn't get the nurse on duty to go check on Mom.
It's four pm now, and Mom's doctor still hasn't checked in on her. Brenda is hoping against hope he will move her to a real hospital, but doesn't think it's likely. She's basically stuck in a room where they pay no attention to her, even though all her skills are rapidly deteriorating. If Brenda wasn't there, I don't think they'd even be changing her diaper.
Brenda works all day shifts at her real hospital job Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, which means I'll be with Mom trying to decipher what the hell is going on and telling the doctors what they should be doing. Not my strong suit. I'm much better at reading to her or bringing her a homemade dinner.
Brenda called me crying a few hours ago, totally breaking down. I say that not to betray her (she needs to be seen as strong), but because of its significance. I can count on one hand how many times I've seen my big sister cry. And it is never a good sign.
Anyway, we're freaked out and exhausted (two years now with no break...even the last year, we haven't had any days off), and there's no hope on the horizon. Mom even called Brian today to ask him to come down from Northern California, but he's too swamped with work. She knows how sick she is...she's never asked to see him before.
Mom really didn't want you all to know, especially with the good news of the Eisner Award. But obviously she was really sick if she couldn't make it to that. I'm not sure what you're supposed to do with this info...sorry to lay it on you, but if I were a regular reader and Mom suddenly died, I'd feel really betrayed.
I guess hang on to the hope Mom represents, and light a candle for her to remind you to think of her throughout the day (that's her favorite custom). And send good thoughts to Brenda, because she's the only reason Mom has been here this long for all of you to get to know and love.
By the way, her name is Barbara. Nickname is Bridge.